Saturday, March 18, 2023
HomeOpinionTele-scopeSatish Kaushik deserved better but TV news obsessed with Rahul Gandhi

Satish Kaushik deserved better but TV news obsessed with Rahul Gandhi

TV news was deliriously celebrating Naatu Naatu on Monday till the ‘pandemonium in Parliament’ broke out over ‘Rahul rant’ and his ‘London lies’.

Text Size:

Ra ra ra ra for RRR and na na na for RaGa. They led everyone a merry dance last week didn’t they? None more so than the television news channels which, in turn, are leading us…god knows where.

It’s been either RRR-land or a political variation –‘Rahul Remarks Ruckus’ (NDTV 24×7).

TV news was deliriously celebrating Naatu Naatu on Monday till the ‘pandemonium in Parliament’ (Republic TV) broke out over ‘Rahul rant’ and his ‘London lies’ (Times Now). That took over the news cycle, barring brief takes on the ‘high drama’ of former Pakistan prime minster Imran Khan’s ‘imminent’ arrest in Lahore (CNN News 18).

What a country of contradictions we are. Even as two ‘Oscarrrs’ saw India ‘rrroar’ at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles (CNN News 18), Congress leader Rahul Gandhi brought shame to India on foreign soil, by his comments on ‘democracy’ in India, so said the BJP and news anchors.

And in the ensuing commotion on TV, we could barely hear the ‘Elephant Whisperers’ which also won an Oscar. Trumpets were all for Naatu Naatu and the ‘ooh-aaahs’ were reserved for Deepika Padukone. The actress, absolutely gorgeous in a black gown, received more screen time for her brief appearance to introduce a live performance of Naatu Naatu at the Oscars than the winning documentary or women behind it – Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga.

Isn’t that a shame?

By the way, this is the same Deepika Padukone who was ‘questioned’ over the color of her bikini in the film Pathan, the same Deepika Padukone who was criticised on news channels for attending a JNU function by the so-called tukde-tukde gang in 2020. Now, she is the toast of television.

Also read: Khan Market, George Soros gang, bulldozer politics – TV news just can’t stop these phrases

The Rahul obsession

Rahul Gandhi. Oh baba, what is it now? Haven’t we seen and heard enough of him – and about him?

Seems not. With him, it’s a case of ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ on the news – yanne ki, anything he does, anywhere, creates a ‘dangal’ on TV, at once.

I’d wager a rupee (because I’m a cheapskate) that he’s been the most dominant personality on Hindi and English channels these past six months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi notwithstanding.

Yes, but what’s he done now to ‘outrage’ everyone on TV? Since Monday, we have listened to ‘BJP tirades against Cong’ (CNN News 18) and seen a string of senior ministers — from Rajnath Singh to Smriti Irani, and Giriraj Singh to Hardeep Puri — line up against Rahul Gandhi in this latest episode of ‘Centre v/s Rahul’, shouting in one voice, ‘Apologise’ (India Today). And for the umpteenth time, he is the topic of debate on prime time shows (Times NowIndia TodayCNN News 18NDTV 24×7).

The Wayanad MP went to London. No, not to see the King or Queen consort but to share his views on the political situation in India. What he said exactly doesn’t matter and whether he offered a gilt-edged invitation to Western powers to “intervene” in India’s affairs is irrelevant. What matters is perception.

If you listen to his interviews of 7 and 8 March, you’ll be left a little bemused about the ‘truth’. But since when is television news about ‘truth’ — isn’t it all about interpretation?

The interpretation of his comments in London, on Indian television news is that Rahul Gandhi made unpatriotic statements in a foreign land. The other TV perception is that ‘he played into the BJP’s hands’ (India Today) and allowed it to neatly turn tables on the Opposition in Parliament.

You ought to have seen the scenes in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday (Sansad TV). The ruling party and the opposition, in unison, yelling for and against Rahul Gandhi – their version of ‘Naatu Naatu’?

It’s not only Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi was also in the line of fire for the ‘Art of Hawala’ (Times Now) allegedly involving former Yes Bank chairman Rana Kapoor and the subject of a study by FATF. Not only was this breaking news but also debated on Times Now and Republic TV (‘Artgate hits Vadra-Congress’).

Let’s end with some TV trivia.

First, an odd story on how the inhabitants of PoK are chanting ‘Modi Modi’. A ‘reporter’ is shown speaking to some men who say their heart belongs to Kashmir and they yearn for India. There was no mention of the location of the place, or the date of the story (India TV).

Next is TV9 Bharatvarsh, the Hindi news channel that spends so much of its time on Ukraine covering the ongoing war, it ought to change its name to TV9 UkraineVarsh. On Monday, while the world danced to Naatu Naatu, the channel was, once again, on the verge of a nuclear war there.

Lastly, to News18 India’s detailed report on the ‘possible murder’ of actor Satish Kaushik who died after attending Holi celebrations at a bungalow in Delhi. The title of the story? ‘Party, Paise Aur Maut ki Siyasat’ – doesn’t Kaushik deserve better?

Views are personal.

(Edited by Anurag Chaubey)

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular